Research Topic

Evolution of Reproductive Organs in Land Plants

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Land plants (including spore plants and seed plants) are the foundation of the Earth's ecosystem. Seed plants dominate most habitats on Earth, and angiosperms are by far the most diversified and important plant group for humans. Since the Devonian Period, land plants have undergone drastic and numerous ...

Land plants (including spore plants and seed plants) are the foundation of the Earth's ecosystem. Seed plants dominate most habitats on Earth, and angiosperms are by far the most diversified and important plant group for humans. Since the Devonian Period, land plants have undergone drastic and numerous modifications in their reproductive organs, and their success is self-evident in the great diversity of flowers all over the world. Despite lasting intensive botanical research, botanists barely know when, where, and how these modifications underwent and what organs of which groups gave rise to the flowers in angiosperms. Reproductive organs play the central role in the evolution of land plants, especially flowers in angiosperms. Their evolution has left its footprints in the morphology and anatomy of fossil and extant plants as well as the development and genetics of living plants. Following the traces of these footprints, the origin and evolution of reproductive organs in land plants (especially flowers), still a major challenge in botany, can be elucidated. The recent advances in molecular and fossil studies have generated an unprecedentedly large amount of new information that can shed new light on these issues. New data allow us to test existing hypotheses in a stricter way and to raise better founded new hypotheses.

In this Research Topic, we will integrate the latest progress in various fields of botany, including plant morphology, anatomy, development, and genetics, to add new raw data on the origin and evolution of reproductive organs in major groups in land plants. We encourage interdisciplinary attempts based on multi-dimensional data to develop a big picture at large scales of reproductive organs among plants. The ultimate goal for this Research Topic is, after careful analyses, to find the shared Bau-plan underlying the reproductive organs in all land plants, bring all vascular plants in order, and place the foundation for the natural systematics of vascular plants.


Keywords: land plants, evolution, reproductive organ, angiosperms, flowers, botany


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